Energy and Ecosystems

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  • Energy and ecosystems
    • Energy flow through ecosystem
      • Plants convert sunlight into chemical energy
        • Suns energy transferred to each tropic level
          • Energy lost as heat, waste and respiration
            • This limits the food chain length
            • Detritivores feed on small fragments of detritus
            • Decomposers are microbes that obtain nutrients from dead organisms and faeces
    • Photosynthetic efficiency is the ability of a plant to trap light energy
      • Gross primary productivity
        • Rate at which products are being made
      • Net primary production
        • GPP- repiration= net production
      • secondary productivity
        • herbivores don't eat all thats available and can't digest cellulose
          • Herbivores have a much lower secondary productivity than carnivores
          • 60% lost in faeces and urine in herbivores compared to 20% lost in carnivores
    • Pyramids of energy
      • Pyramid of numbers
        • Doesn't take into account size or juvenile forms
        • Easy to measure
          • Difficult to accurately measure
      • Pyramid of energy
        • Most accurate way for representing feeding relationships
        • Shows the quantity of energy transferred one trophic level to the next per unit of area per unit of time
        • Can make easy comparison with efficiency of energy transfer in one trophic level to the next between different communities
    • Community and succession
      • Primary succession
        • Introduction of organisms into an area not previously supported a community.
      • Secondary succession
        • Reintroduction of animals into a bare habitat. Rapid recolonisation
        • Spores and seeds may remain in the soil helping colonisation
      • Overtime species diversify until a stable state is reached- climax community
        • Human management can prevent climax community
          • Sheep grazing
          • Farming of land
          • Deforestation and soil erosion
          • Heather moors are subject to management to provide ideal conditions for game birds


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